The day started with sunshine streaming through the window which made it much easier to overlook the still damp rucksack, I have lost its waterproof cover somewhere along the way.
I couldn’t bring myself to put on my wet boots but as the first visit was only 10 minutes away I went in sandals and parked my boots in the sunshine hoping they would steam gently. On the first visit we tackled the practical difficulties of discussing meltdowns with a teenager who is reluctant to take part but wants to be present. Of course this is completely understandable, I am a stranger, but any discussions must be considerate and respectful of those concerned as not speaking does not mean not participating. We also thought a bit about how anxiety can wipe out sensible thought and override any carefully laid plans. A longed for kitten had finally arrived but it’s random if playful movements were causing high anxiety. Oh the difference between the dream and the reality can make life very difficult and this kitten just had no chance of being slow until it was tired or old!
A small sneaky bus ride half way to the next meet up was needed as the mileage and the time available just didn’t match. There was no bus timetable or useful visual support but 2 helpful ladies filled me in on where to go, how much it would cost, estimated time of arrival and onward route. They saw me onto the bus and waved me off! These small acts of kindness go a long way.
The owner was on hand to sort any problem that came his way, where to get the parish newsletter printed cheaply, what days the bins should go out and how to get tea from his machine.
Whilst my breakfast wasn’t quite what I anticipated and pork pies can be a bit heavy on the digestion it was eaten under his eagle eye with obvious appreciation!
I was met by Holly outside The Ship having discovered that our agreed meet up point was 2 miles in Brancaster in loose geographical terms rather than specifics but Google maps just wouldn’t play ball. The mobile signal here in Norfolk is interesting, it is apparently working UK wide coverage but in practice seems a little whimsical!
A shared lunch with the Starfish Plus team was fantastic, the conversation was open, challenging and one of the most constructive debates I have had for years with a multidisciplinary team. We were able to laugh together, share stories, successes and the tougher bits. This photo says it all, a hard working passionate team that loves and enjoys their job.
Mel who initiated this very practical service that offers direct support and intervention over time believes the model can be duplicated. We need to hear more about services like this, they are working and held in very high regard by the parents. This team works with parents at home to build strategies that work for that individual within their family. They turn up and they do it. I wish we had a team like this in every county.
We were joined by 2 mums and their sons and moved outside to give the lads a bit more space and simply continued talking adding the parent story to our discussions. The 2 boys self occupied with occasional well timed intervention from their mums. It is rare to see such high quality intensive interaction therapy and proactive calming strategies being used without fanfare just integrated into how the social situation ran. It is amazing and inspiring.
Quote of the day goes to Harry’s Mum:
Non verbal has no correlation with quiet. Helen Giles July 2015
I am putting that one in my next presentation, thank you Helen!
Ciaran and his Mum are now able to go to classical concerts together and enjoy the music from start to finish. His mum pointed out that they always sit in the back row as Ciaran conducts (of course, why not!) and she laughed but this shared joy is a powerful thing.
Eventually I said goodbye and walked on. There is so much I have learnt today and it is great to talk to inspiring people, laugh long and loud together. There is so much here we want for all our families. How can I make sure I weave this thinking into what I do?
The scenery in filtered sunshine was glorious. Wide open beaches, miles of sand on one side, dunes and fields in the other. Today has been a great day, I am lucky to have the chance to do this.
Also the B and B has a heated towel rail so dry clothes tomorrow — life doesn’t get much better!